Mallet Finger

Mallet finger is an injury to the thin tendon that straightens the end joint of either a finger or thumb. This condition is a common athletic injury.


Mallet finger can be caused by any rapid motion that jams the tip of a finger against an object. This most commonly occurs at the index or middle fingers when a ball hits an outstretched finger and jams it, damaging the extensor tendon (just under the skin). The force of the blow may not only pull the tendon away from the bone, but even a piece of bone along with the tendon. After the injury, the person can’t straighten the finger or thumb.


Treatment depends on the severity of the injury. First aid at home includes icing the finger, as well as cleaning and dressing any cuts that may be present. A variety of over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers may be prescribed depending on the health of the patient and if any pre-existing medical conditions are present. Deep cuts may require stitches. When the fracture is significant and causes joint damage, it may require surgery.

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